Trust vs. Control

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I committed to doing 100 Days of Yoga – and hopefully 100 more after that and 100 more after… – and during the week I just do a few minutes every day, usually just before bed. Last weekend, however, I started Yoga with Adriene’s newest 30 day challenge, TRUE, and just now I did Day 2. One of the reasons I really like Adriene is that she doesn’t just talk us through the yoga poses, she talks us through the whole practice. During these 30 day challenges (of which there are many) Adriene always starts with setting an intention, taking some time in the beginning to think through why we’re here on the mat and to think through the theme of each day. Today’s theme was “trust.”

One of the questions Adriene asked us to consider during the setting of our trust intentions was, “What does trust mean to you?” I took some time to think about it as I was deepening my breath and stretching the back of my neck – what a multitasker! – and what I came up with was that, for me, trust is surrendering control. I thought specifically about being in a car with someone and not knowing where we are going, but being okay with that and letting the driver be in control.

Driving and riding in a car has always held great symbolism for me, which is funny because for the past five and a half years I have not had a car and rarely drive one. Nevertheless (she persisted), my stress dreams are almost always me sitting in the back seat of a car that someone else is driving. In those dreams I feel completely out of control and helpless. That is my nightmare. I have repeatedly had dreams wherein I am driving a car with a passenger and the brakes don’t work, which speaks to my feelings of failure and my responsibility toward others.

So, it makes sense that when I thought about trust, the first thing that came to mind was giving up control in a car situation. I like to be in control. I like to know what is going on. I like to have a plan. I prefer to go with MY plan, but if you can suggest a BETTER one and explicitly explain my role in it, I’ll go along with that, too. I don’t think it’d be helpful to dive into WHY I crave control. I think it’s just the way I was made. Plus I am the oldest child, the only daughter, and my mom is a total bossy boss lady, so it makes sense that I would be, too. I am a quintessential Type A teacher.

Last weekend after my Yoga with Adriene session I wrote about what the one thing that is standing between me and Christ might be. I wrote about how for a long time it was my husband and my desire for a husband and my idolization of a husband, but now that I more or less hold that desire in a more realistic and healthy light, I wasn’t sure what was standing between me and God. It came to me, though, pretty quickly after I published that blog post. The thing that is standing between me and God is my desire for control.

Last summer I had my first panic/anxiety attack. It was at the end of our YouthWorks training week, the night before my job as an Area Director was going to start. We had a time of worship led by Hector and then Emily, one of the Regional Directors (equivalent of my boss/supervisor) gave an amazing commission. She talked about letting go of control. She prayed that we would all open our hands and arms and hearts wide to whatever God had for us and that we would surrender our control because in reality we don’t actually have control over much. After she finished I had my feet washed by my supervisor, then washed my Site Directors feet, who washed their staff’s feet. We sang and prayed for a while, and then, as soon as it seemed acceptable, I went back to our sleeping room and panicked.

I was sobbing uncontrollably and breathing heavily and it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. The surrender of control that Emily had called me to, called us all to, was manifesting itself in my body and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like being out of control. I did not like NOT having control of my breathing. Or my crying. Or my emotions. I wanted to calm down. And, of course, eventually I did. And then, of course, I went on to have a very successful summer. With God in control.

That moment in the ladies’ sleeping room at some random church in Pennsylvania made it pretty clear what the number one idol in my life had become. Control. The first step is acceptance, right? So here we go, God! Working on the next thing! Moving forward in sanctification and trust. And, really, there is nobody I trust more than God to help me get things into perspective.

How about you? Have you identified the one thing (or the one main thing – because let’s be honest, we all have many things) that is standing between you and God? Or if you don’t believe in or care about God, have you thought about the main thing that is standing between you and the best version of yourself? Step one is acceptance, friends. And then we trust.

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